Meshullam ben Moses

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MESHULLAM BEN MOSES

MESHULLAM BEN MOSES (c. 1175–c. 1250), scholar of Béziers and one of the most prominent scholars of Provence in the 13th century. Meshullam, born in Lunel into one of the distinguished families of Provençal Jewry, went to Béziers with his father, Moses b. Judah, one of the leaders of the community and friend of *Abraham b. David of Posquières and *Zerahiah ha-Levi Gerondi. Meshullam's maternal grandfather was *Meshullam b. Jacob of Lunel. His sister's son was *Meir b. Simeon ha-Me'ili of Narbonne, author of Ha-Me'orot. Among Meshullam's grandsons were the renowned 14th-century talmudists and scholars of the *Lattes family. Meshullam typifies the remarkable Provençal blending of Torah and general culture. He is known to have taken a definite stand against the new trend favoring the study of Kabbalah, then making inroads among the Jews of Provence, and supported his sister's son, Meir, in his opposition to the Sefer ha-*Bahir. Meshullam was highly regarded in France and Spain, and even *Naḥmanides, when he complained to Meshullam of the baseless aspersions emanating from Béziers against the family of Jonah *Gerondi, couched his remarks in highly respectful terms (Kitvei ha-Ramban, ed. by C.B. Chavel (1963), 360–4). There is a reference to correspondence between them in Naḥmanides' novellae to the tractate Eruvin (still in manuscripts). *Jedaiah ha-Penini, who studied in Meshullam's yeshivah at the age of 15, has left an account of his master's eminence and wisdom, along with a very detailed and impressive description of the program of study in the yeshivah which closed with Meshullam's death.

Meshullam is chiefly renowned for his Sefer ha-Hashlamah, designed to complete the halakhot of Isaac *Alfasi, explaining its difficult passages, adding halakhot that do not appear in it, updating it with the Provençal tradition of scholarship, and dealing with criticisms of the work, including those of Zerahiah ha-Levi Gerondi in his Ha-Ma'or – all this in order to give it uncontested authority. Indeed, Menahem *Meiri, who wrote more than 50 years later, refers to Alfasi in the same breath as the Sefer ha-Hashlamah, thus showing it to be the standard version of Alfasi in his locality (see introduction to Meiri's commentary on Avot ed. by B.Z. Prag, 1964). Meshullam based his work chiefly upon the teachings of the earlier scholars of Provence, and shows especially high regard for Abraham b. David of Posquières, though he does not hesitate to disagree with him on occasion.

Publication of Sefer ha-Hashlamah was begun during the last century and the greater part of it, comprising the orders Mo'ed and Nezikin, and the tractate Ḥullin, has already appeared. Those chiefly responsible for its publication were Judah *LubetzkyNezikin (Paris, 1885–87; Warsaw, 1907), with an extensive commentary, Torat ha-Hashlamah; Moses Herschler in the series Ginzei Rishonim (1962– ); and Abraham Haputa, who also added an extensive commentary, Reshit ha-Hashlamah (1961– ). The Sefer ha-Hashlamah Yevamot was published in the Vilna (Romm) edition of the Talmud under the title Tosafot Ḥad mi-Kamai. Some of Meshullam's hassagot on Maimonides to Shabbat, Eruvin, and Shevu'ot (in J. Lubetzky, Bidkei Battim, 1896), show he was apparently unaware of Abraham b. David's hassagot on Maimonides.

bibliography:

Meshullam b. Moses of Béziers, Sefer ha-Hashlamah le-Seder Nezikin, ed. by J. Lubetsky, 1 (1885), introd.; idem, Bidkei Battim (1896); Neubauer, in rej, 20 (1890), 244–8; I. Twersky, Rabad of Posquières (1965), 252f.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]